Thursday, April 5 at The Brick, 9:30 pm: $10
Drag queens and improv comedy don’t always go hand-in-hand, which sometimes seems for the best, but come Thursday they will. Presented as part of the new Brooklyn Comedy Collective, currently in residence at Williamsburg’s The Brick, DragProv is pretty much exactly how it sounds. Indeed, you will be able to experience awe-inspiring lip-sync, laugh-inspiring improv, and probably some funny lip-syncs that have some component of improv to them, who knows. I don’t make the rules. Hosts Queef Latifa and Annie AssQueef (are they related? I don’t know) will welcome performers Golden Delicious, Devine Madness, Kiko Soiree, Miranda Samantha, and Gosford Park to do their thing, whatever it may be.
Aloha, Aloha, Or When I Was Queen
Now through April 21 at Abrons Arts Center, 8 pm: $20
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or purposefully pressing your hands to your ears and yelling “la la la I can’t hear you” any time the term is mentioned, you probably know about cultural appropriation. Whether it’s impassioned statements explaining why it’s ill-advised or conservative screed claiming it isn’t real, nowadays it’s hard to avoid. Performer and playwright Eliza Bent’s latest offering Aloha, Aloha, Or When I Was Queen tackles the issue head-on, using a film she made in 1996 for a school project where she portrays a Hawaiian queen as a jumping-off point. Listen, when I was like seven years old I played Rosa Parks in a school presentation and thank god I only thought to buy a wig and nothing else. But no one discouraged me! Grade school is a weird place, especially for performers, because you are usually told you can play whoever because it is just school. But these permissions often stay with us beyond graduation and plant insidious seeds! So, I am interested to see how Bent spins all of this into one of her usually-wacky narratives.
We Are A Masterpiece
April 7-21 at 14th Street Y, 8 pm (Sundays at 2 pm): $22-25
At a panel discussion I attended at MoMA recently, it was discussed how the NYC queer community in the 1980s was largely divided by gender, to the extent that even pride parades felt like two marches: one for women and one for men. However, that all began to change during the advent of AIDS, when many of the community’s women became caretakers for the men. Something similar happens in Gina Femia’s new play We Are A Masterpiece, set in Kalamazoo, MI during the time AIDS was just beginning to rear its head, and most people still did not understand it. One local nurse becomes a beacon of healing and solidarity for those who are suffering, in a world where few others were willing to put in the effort.
Kathy Acker: Blood and Guts in High School Reading
Sunday, April 8 at Performance Space New York, 12 pm: FREE
If you’re a weirdo, queerdo, or other offbeat type with a penchant for strange literature, you’ve probably at least heard of Kathy Acker and her experimental novel Blood and Guts in High School. If you’ve heard of or are a fan of Acker, you’ve likely also heard of folks like feminist performance artist Carolee Schneeman, queer Native American poet Tommy Pico, cabaret artist and performer Justin Vivian Bond, performance artist Penny Arcade, theater director Richard Foreman, or writer Lynne Tillman. If you have, you’re in luck, because all of these people and some 60+ others will gather at Performance Space New York (formerly PS122) to do an all-day marathon reading of Acker’s notable novel, organized by Sarah Schulman. Come for the whole thing or stay for just a few pages; either way, you’ll be part of something memorable.